Perhaps your children moved out and empty-nest syndrome has set in. You want your children to succeed in their chosen paths and enjoy their lives, but you miss them. You decide that one or more pets would help fill the void left by your children, but what happens if you leave them first?
Like many other Florida residents, you probably expect that you will outlive your pets since their life spans are shorter than a human’s is. However, no one knows what the future holds, and you may pass away prior to your pets. For this reason, you may want to provide for them in your estate plan.
Enter the pet trust
You probably don’t just expect a member of your family to take on your pets if you pass away. Even if you have an oral agreement, it would probably make sense to put it in writing. You could leave your pets to someone in your will, but a pet trust could provide even more not only for your pets but also for the person who will take care of them. You can put assets into the trust for the benefit of your pets, such as for the following:
- Routine veterinary costs
- Emergency veterinary costs
- Boarding costs
- Feeding costs
If your pet eats a particular type of dog food, goes to a certain veterinarian and groomer, and needs any particular care, you can outline those items in the trust. Moreover, if you leave money in the trust to cover those particular costs, the person who will take in your pets upon your death is more likely to fulfill your wishes. Without the trust, he or she may not have the funds to cover what you want, which makes meeting your expectations unrealistic.
Who will you trust with the care of your pets? You may want to discuss the situation with that person first. The last thing you want is for the person you hoped would step in for your pets to decline to do so. He or she needs to understand your expectations. It would also help if that person has a preexisting and good relationship with your pets. Regardless of who you choose, you would greatly benefit from having the help of an experienced attorney as you create your pet trust.